Two stories. One point.
I remember the first time someone called me fat. Ok, in his defence, he called me “chubby” but I heard “fat”.
I was 22 and was taking a on-camera class from a legendary film acting teacher. I adored him and his methods. And I felt VERY lucky that he liked my acting.
One day I brought in my new headshot. I was really happy with them and wanted the immediate gratification of his praise. He took one look and said “Oh! I really like this! Who shot it? It is very you. I really like that he shot you chubby because you are chubby.”
Immediate tears. From me, not him.
He back-pedalled a bit saying that it was ok to be chubby and that if I was really worried about it, I should just tone up and it shouldn’t be a problem.
That was the day that I realized it didn’t really matter how good of an actor I was, I also had to be “skinny”.
Here is the picture he was referring to.
Jump ahead about 10 years.
I was one of those Mamas who just assumed her body would bounce back after pregnancy. After all, I was a fitness instructor, I ate well, I was educated on my body and how to heal it post-birth. This should be no problem, right?
It happened at my little dude’s first birthday. I am normally a champ at avoiding cameras but they were all over the place that day, and as more and more pics got posted to Facebook, the more my heart sank into my stomach.
I hated everything I saw. Chunky arms, big belly, double chin…everything made me gasp. How did I let it get so bad? The next day I made a commitment to take photos to keep track of my progress.
Here is the photo that I forced myself to take (and please know that everything in my body is lurching at the thought of sharing this so openly because I am at my most vulnerable here):
Everything about this picture makes me want to cry. I stayed in bed for a good week after this shot. It wasn’t my finest moment.
So here is the point of telling you these two stories and showing you these two photos.
At both of these times in my life, in both of these photos, and for weeks/years afterwards, I thought I was fat. There are many many pounds and several clothing sizes difference between these photos and yet I felt the same thing when looking at these shots.
The only conclusion I can come to? It is all in my head.
Being fit and healthy is more than just how many pushups you can do, what the number on the scale is, what number is on your pant tag, and what you look like in the mirror. It is how you feel about yourself.
I have no better evidence than for how many different sizes I have been and how I have felt fat in all of those different sizes. I need to learn how to dive deep and figure out what it actually is that bothers me and makes me say incredibly unkind things to myself whenever I pass a mirror or duck a camera.
The work I have to do on myself is within. The outer work is about being proud of how strong I am and the positive influence I can be on my little dude. The inner work is about being happy with myself no matter what size I am. This doesn’t mean I can’t kick my own ass. But it does mean showing myself some patience and kindness while doing it.
So Mamas, whenever you are bemoaning the state of affairs of your body, how can you find love and compassion for yourself while also working on the outer stuff? How can you speak kindly to yourself and give yourself time? How can you love the skin you are in while also working on your fitness?
I don’t have all the answers (or maybe even any…). I struggle with this daily. I am just lucky enough to be surrounded by amazingly inspiring Mamas who are on the same journey as me. And we can lift each other up and cheer each other on and not let ourselves sit in that place of wanting. Again, I am very lucky to do what I do.
If you ever need a pick-me-up, a kick in the butt, or a gentle internet hug, please feel free to post in the Baby Mama Fitness Facebook group. We are all there to support and encourage…and also to tell you to post a Sweaty Selfie after you have given yourself some awesome workout time.
Baby Mama and Body Boss,